Stabilisation properties of a SURE-like European unemployment insurance

Stabilisation properties of a SURE-like European unemployment insurance

Series: Working Papers. 2419.

Author: Daniel Alonso.

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Summary

To moderate the falls in production and income that affect certain states or regions, countries and monetary unions have risk-sharing mechanisms. These mechanisms work by stabilising household incomes such that fluctuations in production do not filter through to consumption. Almost all existing monetary unions are true insurance unions, except for the euro area. This entails lower resilience to economic shocks and, as demonstrated during the COVID-19 crisis, implies that the ability to respond to different shocks may differ between countries and, therefore, hinder economic convergence and homogeneous operation of the euro area. In this regard, the creation of a European Unemployment Insurance (EUI) scheme is often cited as an important step towards macroeconomic smoothing within the euro area that could help mitigate the economic and social impact of large economic shocks. In this paper, I propose an EUI scheme, with partial coverage, calibrated to the characteristics of the Temporary Support to Mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE scheme) introduced during the COVID-19 crisis, and test its cyclical properties through simulation exercises, based on the payment and contribution flows in each country. This paper shows that such a transfer system with a relatively limited size could make a significant contribution to stabilising economic developments, cushioning part of the disruptions in times of crisis.

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